Members of the Tea Party understand Constitution

It is often that I have enjoyed the articles and the commentary of A.B. Stoddard. I find her to be honest and knowledgeable about politics and foreign affairs in our world today. However, I was taken aback by her article concerning Sen. Ted Cruz’s “filibuster” (“Cruz’s ruse,” Sept. 25).

A.B. Stoddard said Cruz had lied to Tea Party members who wouldn’t know that it would take support from 67 senators to overcome the president’s veto that was surely to come. That struck a nerve with me. I am not a member of the Tea Party, nor of any party, but I am acquainted with many Tea Party supporters and members and I find them to be politically astute people who know and understand the Constitution as well as anyone. It is their understanding of the Constitution that leads them to step up and become politically active at this extremely troubling time in our nation’s history.

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Oftentimes those in Washington and those who are the “elite” and have been educated at the most liberal-learning institutions often feel like the rest of us are just ignorant uneducated folks who need the elite to guide us and direct us in our social and political lives. Condescending remarks made about those who support a different idea of how America should proceed are not what I would expect of A.B. Stoddard. I live in a little town called Douglas, Ga., but I have read our Constitution many times and most of my friends are very knowledgeable about our Founding Documents. We are all disappointed that our president and our Congress have failed to proceed by our Constitution’s directions.

What I suggest she might consider is that polls show that the majority of the American people are opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and in spite of this fact it was shoved down our throats without anyone ever reading it! I cannot see why anyone would have a negative response to a fight to try to overcome a government that has ignored the will of the people.

I have trouble believing that A.B. Stoddard would think that a large portion of politically active people do not know and understand our Founding Documents. Many a battle has seemed hopeless but was declared in victory by those who persevered!

Douglas, Ga.


Unlikely anyone knows net benefits of regulation

From Patrick A. McLaughlin, senior research fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

On Sept. 25, 2013, The Hill published an op-ed from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) titled, “Common-sense rules keep us safe and prosperous.” This op-ed claimed that a witness from the Mercatus Center testifying before Sen. Blumenthal’s subcommittee used numbers that “showed that, in what [the witness] considers one of the worst years on record, the American people still saw net benefits from regulation of more than $70 billion.” I was the witness from the Mercatus Center that Sen. Blumenthal referred to, and I am writing this letter to set the record straight.

It is unlikely that anyone knows what the actual net benefits of regulation are, although I maintain hope that further research can produce some reliable estimates. More importantly, at no point in my written testimony, oral testimony or during the question-and-answer session before Sen. Blumenthal’s subcommittee did I make such a claim or even allude to the idea of estimating a dollar value for the net benefits of regulation in a year. My written testimony can be examined on the website of Sen. Blumenthal’s Judiciary subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action, and the entire oral testimony and question-and-answer session are available in a webcast at the same site. 

Despite this incorrect attribution in Sen. Blumenthal’s op-ed, I continue to hope that all interested parties can agree that the regulatory process needs to be improved, precisely so that we can have “common-sense rules,” rules that are informed by science and economic analysis and that are not influenced by politics. I look forward to further discussion towards that goal. 

Arlington, Va.


Cut waste and replace  harmful sequestration 

From retired Capt. Bob Ridder, former Marine Corps aircraft commander

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) deserves praise for trying to find ways to cut wasteful spending and replace the harmful sequestration cuts that are undermining Head Start education, devastating Meals on Wheels services for our seniors and slashing programs that help veterans retrain for new civilian jobs or check into a shelter if they’re homeless (“Sen. Levin aims at offshore tax loopholes,” Sept 19). These cuts will roll into next year unless Congress acts to stop them, and they could get worse — President Obama has warned that the Department of Veterans Affairs, which was immune this year, could feel the harsh effects of sequestration cuts in 2014. 

Cracking down on offshore tax evasion is a good first step. Congress should look in every corner of the budget for savings to replace the sequester, including the Department of Defense. We should safeguard the combat readiness of current troops, but over-budget weapons like the new Joint Strike Fighter should be scrutinized. Although it costs a whopping $1.5 trillion, defense analysts say the JSF is not as stealthy, fast, maneuverable or heavily armed as our current aircraft, which are much cheaper. Why not cancel this failing program?

Taken with a handful of other reforms, surely Congress could cut enough waste to replace sequestration and save the critical services that are now being steamrolled. 

Memphis, Tenn.